Top civil, military leadership visit to Saudi Arabia shows Pakistan’s commitment against militancy: Analysts

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ISLAMABAD, Apr 16 (APP):The visit of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to witness the 24-country military exercise Gulf Shield 1 in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia showed Pakistan’s commitment and efforts against militancy and for regional peace, defence and strategic policy experts Monday said.
Defence analyst Lt Gen (R) Tallat Masood said Pakistan had long been cooperating with Saudi Arabia to strengthen its defence against any external aggression and any internal disturbance.
Pakistan’s participation in the alliance showed its commitment to Saudi Arabia’s integrity and defence, which also shows its deep rooted relationship with the kingdom, he added.
Air Vice Marshal (R) Shahzad Chaudhry said Pakistan had very close relationship with Saudi Arabia and participation of both the civilian and military top leadership in the exercise showed that the country would share its expertise with the military coalition to tackle the challenges of militancy and terrorism.
It also showed Pakistan’s commitment and efforts against militancy, terrorism and for regional peace, he said, adding that it, however, was a continuous process.
Professor of Meritorious Studies at the University of Karachi Moonis Ahmar termed it a good opportunity for militaries of the Muslim countries where they would exchange their expertise with one another and take effective measures to counter threats and challenges of militancy and terrorism.
He said the presence of Pakistan’s top leadership in Saudi Arabia clearly indicated that Pakistan was determined to play its significant role for the security and sovereignty of the kingdom.
He said bilateral relationship between the two countries had grown further since Pakistan joined the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), which was headed by its former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.
The IMAFT, created by Saudi Arabia in December 2015 to combat Daesh and other terror groups, had 39 members, including Turkey and Malaysia with a command center in Riyadh.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received the leaders, defence and foreign ministers, and heads of different armed forces at the event, held in the desert around 140 kilometres north east of Dammam.
Apart from Prime Minister Abbasi, Minister for Defence Khurram Dastgir Khan, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior officials of the three services witnessed the ceremony, besides Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vice Admiral (Retd) Khan Hasham Bin Saddique.
General Raheel Sharif also witnessed the event.
The joint tri-services exercise held along the East Coast of the Kingdom under the Eastern Command of Royal Saudi Land Forces was designed to boost coordination and provide a hands-on experience of working together to achieve common objectives.